Number 1 MVA student in Belgium: David De Vos


2 weeks ago we kicked off a blogpost series about top Belgian students in the Microsoft Virtual Academy. In this series, 6 students share their favorite trainings, how the platform helps them to be a better professional and give you some tips to improve your ranking. Samuel Dubrul,& Marcelo Estrada Molina already shared their story.

This week David De Vos (number 1 in the Belgian MVA ranking!) shares his experience with the platform.


First name: David Last name: De Vos Description: My challenging job is to research new technologies and match them to the development of our business. Combell is a hosting provider which focuses on high quality and support. MVA status: Platinum image

What’s your experience with the Microsoft Virtual Academy so far? How does it help you to improve your IT skills?

The Microsoft Virtual Academy provides really good insight in any given Microsoft technology or product. I’m a research engineer which means that I dive under the hood of technology, get all the bits and bytes out of there and report back to our management. In that way, the virtual academy really helped a lot. Most of the tracks are level 200-300 which means they provide a high-level overview and they offer a great starting point. After following a track the best way to take your knowledge to the next level, is by building a test lab and putting everything you learned to the test. That way you’ll have the perfect balance between the theoretical and practical side of things. Because – in my humble opinion – there is still quite a difference. You get many links to white papers and TechNet articles during the courses. These remain within reach on my laptop and are a great resource to fall back to, whether this is during the building of test labs or later on during solution design.

What’s your favorite training on MVA (track or course)? Which one(s) would you recommend?

I really like the System Center tracks with Symon Perriman and Corey Hynes. Those two present really nicely together. They really bring the material in a fluent way and provide a bunch of practical details. They offered insight in System Center products like VMM 2012 when it was only CTP/RC. 

The latest tracks I really like are Mission Critical Confidence using SQL Server 2012 and SQL Server 2012: Scale on demand. I really think SQL 2012 is a brilliant product with amazing capabilities. The track really helps understand the practical challenges you face when designing multi-site solutions. Things like quorum configuration and best practices for client configurations are discussed really clearly. I did a study on SQL Server 2012 “Denali” earlier this year and it’s nice to see a lot of my challenges and findings come back during the tracks.

What’s your advice for ambitious MVA newbies who want to improve their ranking?
This is a rather difficult question as it depends on many different things. Your personal interest and technical profile should determine what tracks you want to follow. A good start is to highlight what topics you’re interested in on your personal profile page. That way you’ll automatically get a list of tracks that match your interest or need. Review the topic list frequently as new topics are added quite often lately. The availability of new tracks became more frequent the last months and the quality of the content keeps increasing. Increasing your rating can only be done by doing as many tracks as possible. From time to time you get the chance to profit from temporary promotions and bonus points, so you might want to follow up on that. Doing all available tracks requires quite some time and dedication, but it definitely worth doing if you’re a geek like me. Personally I consider it more a learning opportunity than a contest for the highest rating.

Next week we’ll be sharing Mike Resseler’s view on the Microsoft Virtual Academy.


Haven’t signed up for MVA yet? Now is the time to do so! You can get a FREE Welcome Pack (including an exclusive T-shirt and laptop sticker) until the end of May (only for Belgians). Here’s what you need to do:

- Register now on
- Send the URL of your MVA profile (example) to <> along with T-Shirt size and shipping info
- Check your mailbox and open your Welcome Pack

MVA t-shirt

Please read the terms and conditions of this promotion.